Handwashing vs. Hand Sanitizers

How many of us have a little hand sanitizer bottles that we carry around in our backpacks? I bet nine out of ten people would raise their hand yes. The real question are our hands getting cleaned? Is there any data that proves this theory?


Let’s talk about hand sanitizers for a minute. There are two types according WebMD.org alcohol based and non-alcohol based. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are filled with pretty much alcohol and their types of chemicals designed to killing most harmful bacteria. The other type of sanitizer non-alcohol is filled with other less harsh chemicals which will not get ride of the harmful bacteria. Most people use sanitizers especially if they are always on the go and do not have time to look for a restroom. This also gives a sense of security for those that feels like germs are everywhere that squirt this their hands at least ten times a day just to feel clean. I use to be one of those people that would go through bottles of hand sanitizer within a week. Just because I believed that my hands were contaminated with bacteria. Which is true. There’s good bacteria and not so good. The down side is that my hands felt very dry after using the alcohol based sanitizer. I had to keep applying lotion throughout the day to keep them moisturized.

Hand sanitizers have come under fire in recent years because some scientists found that these portable “germ killers” don’t actually kills all of the germs.

Most doctors prefer people stick to hand washing as the best way to make sure our hands are squeaky clean. Some people fail to do that properly. You should wash your hands for 30 seconds or be able to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Use warm water. I repeat use WARM WATER. When washing one’s hand’s. Sanitizer should be a last resort if there is no access to a sink with soap and water.

Growing up my mom would always emphasize the importance of good hand washing. Before we put anything in our mouths. I remember how every time we would go out to eat at a restaurant there was a two step process. Step one order the food because the menus were filthy since thousands of people use them every day. Step two go and wash our hands. Me a brother would be timed. If we came out too quickly then we would have to go back and start all over again. Now looking back this is a little silly but, she did this so we would not get a serious virus like the flu.

Keeping your hands clean is very important during the flu season. Everyone is sneezing, coughing and sniffing. It’s even worse for people that share an apartment or dorm with others. Germs can spread like wild fire so make sure you wash your hands every time before eating anything.

In the end it personally comes down to what make you feel comfortable. No one is going to make you wash your hands. Just don’t be the person that doesn’t wash their hands, that  not sanitary.

5 thoughts on “Handwashing vs. Hand Sanitizers

  1. Katherine Guerney

    I think that this is a really important topic to bring up, especially because in class you can always hear tons of people coughing. I remember learning in high school that using too much hand sanitizer and washing your hands too often can be a bad thing. In this article it explains that If we were to kill all of the bacteria on our hands then the strength of our immune system would begin to drop. Therefore, it is not a bad thing that hand sanitizer doesn’t kill 100% of germs, and it actually helps our immune system when we are exposed to some germs.

  2. Yixiao Jiang

    It is a really interesting post! I am thinking about the same idea. When I was a little child, my parents make me to do the same things like yours. I can not get on the dinner table until I wash my hands. Even though I do not like keep washing my hands at that time, I am get used to it now because it protect my health!

  3. Allison Maria Magee

    My friends think I’m a germaphobe because I wash my hands before eating and after touching something yucky, when, in reality, I am just using proper hygiene. As someone who has been in the hospital quite a lot, germs are a big issue in my eyes. Washing one’s hands is super important to ensure that viruses and dangerous bacteria do not enter your body. I do carry around hand sanitizer with me, but recognize the fact that washing my hands is the most effective way to make sure I get rid of germs. This is a very important blog that everyone should pay attention to.

  4. Nicole B Sherman

    I have to say, that I find your topic to be really interesting. For me, germs have always been a source of disgust. I used to be a hand-sanitizer nut, and it wasn’t until someone sat me down and told me that there are good germs, and bad germs, that I stopped carrying a small hand-sanitizer around with me 24/7. It’s interesting that you mention that the hand-sanitizers, even the alcohol based ones, don’t really kill all the germs. I mean, it’s obvious that they don’t kill 100% of germs, it says so on bottles that boast killing 99% of germs. What I find intriguing though, is that, even with the harsh chemicals that are in some of the hand-sanitizers, doctors still suggest that washing your hands is better. I mean chemicals are usually very strong substances, and they have much more in them than water. It makes me wonder if the chemicals in some of the alcohol based ones can be detrimental to your health. I mean chemicals aren’t good to put into your body, or on it for that matter, and some people use hand sanitizer 3-10 times a day. It just makes me question if those chemicals are doing something to your body aside from drying out your skin, something that we could find out could really hurt us in the long run. It almost makes me relate it to smoking. People used to think that smoking was good for you, some doctors even promoted it. In the long run though, studies showed that it could really hurt you, and that it even caused different types of cancer. There are harsh hallucinogens in cigarettes, and I feel as if the chemicals in some hand-sanitizers can be just as hurtful, we just don’t know it yet. Who knows, maybe thirty years from now we’ll find out that hand-sanitizer really is bad for you.

  5. Casey Patrick Brennan

    Very interesting post. Different peoples skin types could also play a factor. I noticed you said you’re hands got very dry, so the porousness and coarseness of each individual persons hand could effect the amount of sanitizer that kills germs, versus how much is absorbed into the skin. I agree though, people who constantly sanitize their hands after every incident of public contact should lighten up.

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